Just go to sleep, she begged. Please just fall asleep.
But no amount of begging could sooth her whirring mind.
Frisk tossed and turned in her bed, trying with no success to come upon a comfortable position. Her bedroom was dark, unsurprisingly of course. Numerous toys found themselves scattered about in the nightly gloom, traces of food trailed along the ground, and articles of clothing found themselves in places where they certainly did not belong. Her room was quite a mess to see.
It was exactly how Frisk had left it.
The only glimmer that shown through the darkness was her alarm clock, revealing in bright red the one thing it was created to tell.
Frisk couldn't fall sleep, nor did she feel that she would ever. No matter how hard she tried to calm herself, or to block out the haunting thoughts just long enough to close her eyes, a terrible restlessness took hold of her, and it had no intention of letting go.
The reason being...
Just yesterday, that afternoon, she had returned. At long last her treacherous journey had been accomplished, a fantastic tale that she knew no one would believe. A story of gigantic monsters and terrible creatures, and of victory in the end.
Once beyond the Barrier that had caused so much calamity, Frisk had been greeted with the sight of her town, the little village she had missed so much. The joy that had filled her was inexplicable, as she had sprinted through the brush toward the concrete path, the one that she knew led into the town. Around her people had turned their heads, and then whipped them back around to stare. They had thought they were seeing things, perhaps going insane. But even with the pinching and eye rubbing utilized in attempt to erase the sight, no one could deny that she was there.
Not noticing the scene she had caused, Frisk had only continued to run down the sidewalk, her destination fully in mind. And at last after a few minutes, she had found it. A home that looked just like all the others around it, with the exception of the bright blue car in its driveway, the vehicle that she remembered well. Up the steps she had climbed to the red-painted door, which she rapped her fists upon like bongos.
"Mommy!" she had yelled, unintentionally attracting an audience down the street. "Daddy! It's me!"
At first nothing was heard, and Frisk for an instant had thought that maybe something was wrong. Perhaps something had happened to her parents in her absence, and they were gone, and she hadn't been there for them, and there was no way for her to know and that was why they weren't answering this was all Frisk's fault—!
But the child's anxious scenarios had crumbled immediately, once a stumbling had erupted from behind the door. And at once it had opened to present a shock-ridden man, and an equally agape woman shove him aside.
"Frisk?" the man had gasped, taking this surprise much more calmly than his wife. The woman beside him had already broken down in tears, and leaped through the doorway to embrace her child.
"My baby girl!" she had bawled, holding Frisk close to her into her arms. "You're alive! Thank God you're alive!" The pair were soon to sense yet another presence, as the man joined the tearful reunion.
"We've been worried sick!" he had said, placing a kiss upon his daughter's head. "What happened?! Are you alright?!"
Frisk didn't want to talk about what had happened; she didn't even want to think about it. All she wanted to do was savor this moment, enjoy it as long as she could make it last.
"I missed you," she had mumbled, breathing in sharply with every word she spoke. "I missed you so much!" So the question was dropped, and the family of three had stayed there on the front porch, none of them caring who was staring.
As soon as the moment was over, however, it seemed the joy that had come with it had vanished, as if it had never been. Now, Frisk was in quite the opposite place she had been earlier. As she recalled her adventure through the incredible Underground, all the monsters she had encountered, all the foes she had stumbled upon. How she was attacked for just being there, and how she was forced to fight back.
The Froggits that tried to hurt her, the Snowdrakes that joked as she was pummeled, the Pyropes that attempted to cook her alive; the list went on. Frisk remembered the robot that went out of his way to kill her, just to get viewers on his TV show. And the spider lady that trapped her in a web, planning to feed her to her "pet." Frisk remembered them, and how she fought them all. And how she had won.
And Frisk remembered Toriel. But she wished so much that she didn't.
Frisk had to fight her. She had to! Frisk wanted to go home, and she needed to get though that exit, but Toriel wouldn't let her. Even when she resisted attacking, the woman practically demanded that she fight. No matter how hard she tried to run past, there was no way to escape. Not without obeying Toriel's commands. Frisk bawled the entire battle, ordered to "Fight or leave!" with every refusal of attack. And in the end, the woman seemed to give up, as Frisk weakly struck her last blow.
The woman slumped to the ground, clutching her chest in anguish. As she gasped for air she croaked for Frisk to go on. To do what she had to do to get home. And most of all, to not allow Asgore to take her soul.
And with her final words, a simple request, "Be good, won't you...my child?" her body crumbled into a fine dust, leaving a lone gray entity wavering in the air, which Frisk now realized as Toriel's soul. Her face drenched in tears, Frisk was the only other being present to witness the death of the kindest person she had ever met, as her quivering essence suddenly split down its middle, and shattered upon the ground of the Ruins.
Even as Frisk lay in her bed, she felt the sorrow of that very moment, as if it had only just happened. New tears had begun to run down her cheeks. She wished she could take it all back, that she could start over and try something more.
She regretted everything she had done; all the lives she had ceased, all the monsters she had hurt...all the people she had murdered.
Silent whimpers escaped her throat, which as quiet as they were, were ironically violent. She encased her eyes with her hands, not exactly interested in wiping away the tears. She was a murderer, and she wouldn't be punished. She was the scum of the earth, and no one would know. She didn't deserve to be where she was, back in her home with her family, happy as if nothing had happened. She deserved to be in jail, where the criminals and bad guys were kept, people like her.
And the worst part was, even it she tried to tell someone that she had killed monsters during her absence, no one would believe her. Nobody thought that a kid her age would be able to squash a fly, much less kill a person. Nobody would even consider that an underground world lay below the cliffs of Mt. Ebott. And any person over the age of five would never accept that such a world contained hundreds of monsters. She'd be ridiculed at the spot, and then punished for lying. This very torture wouldn't let her sleep, the knowing that she wasn't worthy of this happy ending, and justice not able to be served.
This torment continued to strangle her mind, and it would have only kept on doing so if—
Frisk jumped out of her skin. She nearly screamed, but remembered that it was the crack of dawn. Not that any sound she could make could be louder than the—
Frisk reached to her nightstand where this noise wailed from, right for the cellphone that she had received upon her arrival in the Underground. The device had been given to her by Toriel, with the intention of checking up on the child in the Ruins. Surprising it was that it was still in Frisk's possession, even after the hazy battle between her and Flowey. But even with that mystery in mind, she shoved the device under her pillow as quickly as she could, attempting to muffle the—
That was much better. The ringtone was now just barely audible, and Frisk silently rejoiced that her parents were heavy sleepers. But once the relief subsided, he couldn't help but wonder...
...who was calling her?
Frisk kept the phone underneath her pillow, listening to the stifled sound as she lay her head atop it. Who could possibly be calling her? And why? Who even knew that she had this phone? Obviously Frisk had no intention of answering it, without any idea of who would be at the other end.
Eventually the ringing stopped, and there was a silence. And just as Frisk was sure the caller had hung up, possibly aware of dialing the wrong number, a sound came though the cushion.
Frisk froze, as she slowly started to recognize the voice.
"Is anyone there...?" the caller asked, and when no answer came, "Well, I'll just leave a message..."
The child held her breath, as if doing so would convince the person she wasn't there. But she had the uncanny feeling that he knew that she was.
Sans always had a way of knowing things.
"Since you left," the skeleton continued, "things down here..." He paused, as if thinking of the perfect word for the Underground's condition. "...are different. With Asgore gone...Undyne became the ruler of the Underground."
Yes, Frisk remembered Undyne, and that remembrance filled her with a petrifying terror. The soldier that had attacked her with such vim and vigor, bound and determined to take her soul for the king. Frisk wasn't able to defeat her, no matter how long and hard she tried. But she didn't have to, for at the pinnacle of her attack, the assailant had left a space for her to squeeze by. Taking advantage of this, the child had ran for her life as Undyne chased her down. But suddenly, Frisk had stopped. Once over a bridge that spanned a river of lava, Frisk had noticed that she couldn't hear the clanking of armor behind her. Turning herself around to see why it was so, she found the royal guardsman lying motionless on the ground. Frisk didn't dare take the time to examine why, for she bolted away from the monster as quickly as she was able. She had never learned of what had happened, but it seemed Undyne was still alive.
"She's decided to destroy every human that comes here," Sans said, waking Frisk from her memories. "And since the human souls disappeared..." Frisk remembered them too, the variegated entities that Flowey had used to attack her, and was in the end eliminated by. "...she's also looking for a new way to break the Barrier..." he continued, "and when she does, she's going to wage war on humanity."
Frisk lay rigid, her ear still to the pillow. Her breath slowed, allowing a silence to take over the room.
"I mean," the skeleton spoke, breaking the quiet, "that was Asgore's plan, too."
Frisk confessed that he wasn't wrong. That was the reason that the king had desired her soul, and why she had to defend herself against the monsters that wished to carry out his plan.
"But he was really, uh, bad at it," Sans admitted. And secretly, Frisk was thankful for that fact.
"Undyne has also expanded the royal guard massively," he said. "She says the first thing she'll do after we get out of here..." he paused again, filling Frisk with unease "...is take her army...and personally hunt you down and destroy you."
Frisk had been scared before, but now she was horrified. Her eyes stayed wide open, and she could feel more oncoming tears.
"Meanwhile..." Sans commenced, and the child shook her head. She didn't want to listen anymore. "...I've been knocking on the door to the Ruins."
Frisk felt dead then and there. "No no no no," she spoke softly, though she knew not whom to.
"But that woman hasn't been answering me..." he said.
Sobs wavered her breath, causing air to come out in short huffs.
"Maybe she's not feeling well?"
Frisk buried her face in her hands, catching whimpers in her palms. This monster that spoke to her, the skeleton she had come to know so well on her journey, was aware that his friend in the Ruins was gone because of her. Even with his innocent comment, he knew. He was only taunting her, feeding the fire that already ravaged her mind. But Frisk wanted more than ever to forget.
Stop it! she thought, as if Sans could hear her mental plea. Just stop it!
"Hey," the receiver sounded, but to the voice of another person. "Sans, who are you talking to?"
Frisk opened her eyes. She knew that voice.
"Oh," came Sans's reply, "Just the human."
"Oh," the new voice said. "Cool." There was a pause, but suddenly it continued, "Wait, did you say the human?!" It sounded shocked, yet overjoyed. "Can I talk to them???"
Something unknown came over Frisk, but whatever it was caused her to peek a grin, just barely at the corner of her mouth. Someone actually wanted to talk to her, and didn't hate her guts.
She really could count on Papyrus for anything.
"Sure, knock yourself out," his brother affirmed.
"Hey!!!" he greeted, so loudly that Frisk had to pull her head away from the pillow. "Undyne's the empress now!!! It's amazing!!!"
The peeking grin faded; it was not amazing for Frisk.
"And she appointed me to be..." he informed, "the most important royal position!!!"
Frisk waited for him to finish his statement, but wondered after a few seconds why he wouldn't.
"That's it," he finally said. "That's literally the title."
Frisk wouldn't actually do it, but her eyes shone the glimmer of a smile.
"What do I do?" Papyrus asked, although the child couldn't answer him. "She told me to, um...stand around and look cute." He seemed disappointed. "Well!!!" he burst, "That's the perfect job for me!!! I do that all the time, without trying!!!"
A giggle burst out of Frisk, which actually quite startled her.
"Finally!!! I'm important. And it's all thanks to you."
The child's heart sank.
"And the horrible things you did."
Another tear found its way down her cheek, as she started to whimper again.
"Thank you, human!" he said. "Come back and visit sometime!!" He stopped. "Wait..." he corrected, "...Undyne would probably kill you." He thought about this for a moment. "But...you'd get to see me. So you gotta risk it!!! You gotta!!!"
As much as she would have loved to see Papyrus again, Frisk knew that she couldn't do it. It wasn't worth it, no matter how much she missed the kindly skeleton. She would never climb that cursed mountain ever again, to where the entrance to the Underground, a mere hole, lay like a snare. At the mere glance of her, Frisk would be executed on the spot. And even if that wasn't so, she couldn't bring herself to be in the presence of the race she had reduced. Shame was the true reason of this, an indescribable guilt that she felt would never go away. She could never stand before any monster. Not even the only one that had the heart to forgive her.
Even Papyrus had once had the intention of capturing her for Undyne, hoping that this act of valor would induct him into the royal guard. He had met Frisk at the edge of Snowdin Town to conduct his battle. Quite a quarrel it had been, as the skeleton thrust obstacle after obstacle in her direction, Frisk barely able to dodge them all. And in the end, both sides had been about ready to keel over. Papyrus had landed his share of blows, and the child her own.
"Well!" he had said, huffing at every other word. "It's clear...you can't! *huff* Defeat me!!!" He propped himself upon his knees and pointed. "Yeah!!! I can see you shaking in your boots!!!"
Frisk actually had been shaking, but not out of fear, as Papyrus had concluded. The two had brawled in the wintry weather for a solid ten minutes, and although he most likely had felt nothing, Frisk had been a few moments away from becoming an ice sculpture.
"Therefore I," the skeleton had resumed, "the Great Papyrus, elect to grant you pity!!!"
The child had furrowed her brow. "What?" she had asked, considering if she had possibly heard him wrong—perhaps the cold was starting to get to her.
"I will spare you, human!!!" he had claimed. "Now is your chance to accept my mercy!"
Frisk had exhaled a sigh of relief, which puffed into a cloud above her head. She had loosened her muscles, which had been previously held in a battle stance. "Yes please," she had consented, relieved that she finally didn't have to fight someone to the death.
And with that Papyrus seemed content, yet somewhat disappointed. "Nyoo hoo hoo..." he verbalized, though Frisk wasn't exactly sure what emotion that had presented. "I can't even stop someone as weak as you..." He peered down at his boots. "Undyne's going to be disappointed in me. I'll never join the royal guard... And..." he sniffled, "my friend quantity will remain stagnant!"
Frisk knew that Papyrus was supposed to be her enemy; he had attacked her, and wanted to capture her. But she actually had felt bad for him. He really wanted to be in this "guard" he had been talking about. And she hadn't been aware that he didn't have any friends. He seemed like a nice guy; she had no clue as to why he would have none.
"W—well..." she had said, the skeleton looking up at her. "Maybe.." Frisk froze, though not a result of the chilly air that surrounded her. At first thought, it hadn't seemed like a bad idea, but something about this decision didn't feel...wise. But nevertheless she carried on with it. "Let's be friends, then," she had offered, immediately realizing that she was in for something. She knew not what, but it was certainly "something".
Papyrus's eyes had grown wide, if that was possible for a skeleton. "Really?!" he had shouted. "You want to be friends, with me?"
Frisk had worn a reluctant smile, but nodded her head in response.
"Well then..." he said, "I guess..." He pondered a moment. "I guess I can make an allowance for you!"
And if it hadn't been for his sudden offer of mercy, one of the two would have eventually been dead. Why couldn't any of the other monsters have been that kind? If any of them had done as the skeleton had and just left her alone, maybe they would still be alive, and Frisk wouldn't be a murderer.
The remembrance of their little skirmish was not a happy memory; it had only turned back on her again, reminding her of all she had done.
Frisk lay on her back, and felt nothing but shame wash over her.
"See you soon," Papyrus concluded, with the hope that he would find the child in the Underground shortly.
And as she stared up at the ceiling, the skeleton hung up, unknowing that his request would not be met.
At least, not as soon as he expected.